By Jason Wojciechowski on March 31, 2012 at 3:10 PM
Bruce Jenkins complains about the A's-M's trip to Japan, including the fact that the first game was tape-delayed and that it was broadcast using the Mariners announcers watching on video from Seattle (which I didn't know because I watched the Seattle broadcasts anyway, on MLB.tv).
David Wishinsky fleshes out his point about Brandon Allen and the bunt attempt against Felix Hernandez.
Nathaniel Stoltz has a long look at Grant Green, noting that he doesn't seem to have any particular skill or tool that you'd call above-average, the one possibility being his contact hitting, and there's always a real question about how well a high-BABIP player will keep his numbers as he moves up the chain.
I will note a quibble, though. Stoltz says:
If we assume that he doesn't really break through statistically and ends up as a .265/.320/.380 sort of hitter, Green becomes something of a "tweener"-he'd be a decent starting middle infielder or catcher, but isn't particularly interesting as a starter at any other position.
I think that's wrong. Major-league center-fielders hit .261/.326/.410 last year, so Green would just be a few runs on defense from being a perfectly league-average eight-man. (For what it's worth, center-fielders actually out-hit left-fielders last year, so in some sense, that stat-line could even work in left, but the 2011 result smells to me like a down year or a major focus (over-focus?) on defense, or both, and I'm not sure it'll hold.)
I don't normally link to bullshit, but I think it's a good idea as a fan-base to remind ourselves sometimes that even the people who root for the same team we do can be bigoted assholes with a shaky command of English.
The thing about this piece that posits that Manny Ramirez is in Oakland to help Yoenis Cespedes with his culture shock is that Manny grew up in Washington Heights. This isn't to say that they won't have anything in common or that he can't help, but Manny isn't a kid who was signed in the Dominican at 16 and did adjustment-to-the-U.S.-in-Iowa thing we all saw in Sugar.
Speaking of Manny, his domestic violence charges were dropped.
Dave Brown has a great post about Bill Bene, who I tweeted about a few days ago. Brown, though, being the world-famous Answer Man, has a tidbit about Bene from an interview he did with Billy Beane last year. It's pretty funny.
Another Manny update:
#athletics Manny Ramirez has a hamstring issue and won't play here or during Bay Bridge Series.— Carl Steward (@stewardsfolly) March 31, 2012
Me elsewhere: my picks for the season are included in the Baseball Prospectus staff picks roundup. It's free. The A's and Mariners are practically tied for third in the A.L. West, with the Mariners just nosing ahead of Oakland. Yoenis Cespedes came in fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting. There is no other Athletics-relevant data to report. I also answered Bradley Ankrom's twenty questions, including the A's-relevant one of whether Josh Reddick or Yoenis Cespedes will have a higher OPS. (Reddick edged Cespedes in the voting. I don't remember who I voted for.)
[Geoff Young looks at western teams signing veteran arms](https://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16295) to deals that theoretically block young kids. This is A's-relevant because of Bartolo Colon, of course.
Yoenis Cespedes finished fifth in the [SweetSpot voting for likely AL Rookie of the Year](http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/22055/sweetspot-predictions-al-rookie-of-year). I'm a little surprised that Mike Trout beat him out, given Cespedes's Opening Day starting job and the fact that Trout has one very good player and two very expensive players in front of him.
[Jim Bowden has a series of bold predictions for 2012](http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/post?id=3709), including that Cespedes will be optioned to AAA to work on cutting down his long swing before June 1.
[Jeff Sullivan examines](https://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/3/28/2907354/seattle-mariners-oakland-athletics-japan-2012) the history of teams opening in Japan and whether they experienced any hangover. As you might expect, there's no strong conclusion because we're dealing with a sample of six teams. I'd be curious to hear a doctor weigh in on the effects of long flights, how long it takes for those effects to wear off, and so forth.
[The incomparable Sam Miller has a great look](https://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16314) at the history of putting rookies in the cleanup spot, prompted by Yoenis Cespedes, who has the upside to be a future cleanup hitter, but who is batting lower in the order in the early-going, which has been the modern trend.
Ugh, [Dallas Braden had a setback](http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/31/SP9M1NT220.DTL&feed=rss.athletics%3f), straining his shoulder. It apparently happened ten days ago, but the A's, close-lipped as they always are with injuries, only mentioned it now.
[Manny Ramirez also "tweaked" his hamstring](http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120331&content_id=27800288¬ebook_id=27800292&vkey=notebook_oak&c_id=oak&partnerId=rss_oak), but that's less dire. He's got until the end of May to get ready.
Steven Goldman notes, correctly, [that Brandon McCarthy shutting down the Mariners](http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1122781-ms-as-things-not-to-believe-about-ichiro-and-brandon-mccarthy-after-one-game) isn't necessarily something to get excited about beyond what we already knew about him.
[Jack Cust is a Yankee](http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/03/28/the-yankees-sign-jack-cust/) and I am the saddest person in history.
Cliff Corcoran, SI's awards guru (besides being a swell guy and an all-around good writer), [makes his early picks for the major awards](http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/cliff_corcoran/03/28/preseason.favorites/index.html?eref=writers), with Yoenis Cespedes showing up third on his Rookie of the Year ballot behind the two big pitchers.
Jeff Sullivan has gifs of each pitch [Cespedes saw in the first game](https://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/3/28/2909333/yoenis-cespedes-video-oakland-athletics). It's striking how few fastballs he got. If not surprising at all. (It shouldn't be surprising to me, I guess, seeing as how I watched the game.)
David Wishinsky speculates that [something could be wrong with Fautino De Los Santos](http://toddvanpoppelrookiecardretirementplan.com/2012/04/01/injury-bug-braden-ramirez-suzuki-de-los-santos/) because he hasn't pitched in a major-league game since March 20th. I hope he's not on to something here.
Aw, Brendan Ryan proposed [in Japan](http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/brendan-ryan-takes-advantage-tokyo-trip-pops-girlfriend-133030358.html).
[Here's an Athletics Nation FanPost](http://www.athleticsnation.com/2012/4/1/2919137/my-japan-experience) from someone who went to Japan for the games.
[Jeff Sullivan looks at Bartolo Colon's ability](https://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/3/29/2911940/bartolo-colon-stats-swinging-strikes) to get called strikes.
[John Sickels's look at his favorite under-26 pitchers](http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/3/29/2912420/more-favorite-young-pitchers-25-or-younger) who are not still rookies includes Brett Anderson.
[Sam Miller (yes, again) has a piece about the A's](https://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16338) and their use of computers *long* before *Moneyball* -- in Sandy Alderson's first year, in fact, under manager Steve Boros. (Boros apparently passed away in December 2010. Were he still around, I'd advocate hiring him to manage the A's.)
[Here's Kevin Goldstein's AL West prospect preview](https://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16336). Goldstein thinks Jermaine Mitchell can be a second-division starter.
[William Tasker's lengthy list of predictions for 2012](http://passion4baseball.blogspot.com/2012/04/crystal-ball-tells-all-for-2012.html) includes Yoenis Cespedes having an o.k. year and the A's losing 100 games.
The lead point in [Bust Olney's latest](http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/7761557/billy-beane-likes-sees-yoenis-cespedes-mlb) is about Yoenis Cespedes and his absurd strength.
The SweetSpot A.L. MVP [predictions are up](http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/22205/sweetspot-prediction-al-mvp). No Athletic was listed, which should not surprise you. I don't entirely remember how I voted, but I'm pretty sure I went with Pujols in the top spot.
The end of [Jeff Sullivan's Game 1 recap](http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2012/3/28/2908208/seattle-mariners-oakland-athletics-japan-2012) has a funny exchange between Brandon Allen and Bob Melvin about The Bunt.
[And here's](http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2012/3/28/2909036/not-shown-terrifying-velocity) an annotated photo of Seth Smith coming two inches from murdering Brandon League.
[Sullivan's Game 2 recap](http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2012/3/29/2910528/seattle-mariners-oakland-athletics-japan-2012) mentions something I forgot, which is that Yoenis Cespedes "glided over to snare a Justin Smoak drive to the gap with notable ease," and "glide" is, I think, the perfect word for how it looked.